Which OS distributions are supported?
We test BIRD on CentOS 7, Debian 8, Debian 9, FreeBSD 11, OpenBSD 5.8 and NetBSD 7. Sometimes we run also FreeBSD 10, CentOS 6 and Debian 7 and it also seems to work there well.
Limited support is possible for Android (7.1) in Termux app; we don't test it much.
We think it may run at DragonflyBSD and probably other BSD systems quite well. We never tested BIRD at Mac OS X. If it works, let us know; if not, send a patch!
We currently don't support Windows. There were some efforts to manage it but no patch has been sent yet.
How BIRD handles IPv6?
In version 1, BIRD has an unusual way to handle IPv6. BIRD can be compiled to support either IPv4, or IPv6. Distributions have different packages for both versions of BIRD. To route both protocols, you have to use two completely separated bird processes, with two separate config files (usually bird.conf and bird6.conf). Therefore, it is impossible to have one BGP session propagating both IPv4 and IPv6 prefixes.
In version 2, BIRD can handle both IPv4 and IPv6 (and also other address families / AFIs / SAFIs) in one process.
OSPF and multiple ptp addresses on one interface
OSPFv2 specification supposes that an interface has one IP address. BIRD handles multiple IPv4 addresses by emulating separate OSPF interfaces for each address range on one physical interface. Received packets are classified according to the source address. This works well if these address ranges are disjoint, which is usual.
Unfortunately, there is one common case where this is not true - multiple ptp addresses with the same local address on one (physical) interface. If such interface is configured in the ptp mode (one OSPF ptp interface per one ptp address pair) but is physically broadcast (like ethernet), each neighbor receives packets intended for other neighbors, because packets are sent using multicast. This mixed packets cause several kinds of strange behavior and error messages.
The solution is to configure such interfaces in the ptmp (point-to-multipoint) mode. This will work because in the ptmp mode packets are sent using unicast (as the ptmp mode is usually used on physically non-broadcast networks). Note that it is still one OSPF ptmp interface per one ptp address pair, not one common ptmp interface, as it might be expected. In this case, it is not necessary to configure neighbors (as usually needed on nbma or ptmp interfaces), because the peer is known from the ptp address pair (opposite address).
Dynamic routing issues with OpenVPN
OpenVPN is a popular VPN tool that allows to connect VPN clients to a VPN server by tunneling using tun/tap interfaces. One would expect that it should be possible to have additional networks behind VPN clients and propagate these networks using BIRD to the VPN server and other clients. Unfortunately such setting does not work due to way how OpenVPN is implemented.
There are three ways how L3 VPN server could generally work:
- One PtP interface per VPN client
- One common PtMP interface for all VPN clients
- Some other magic
Unfortunately, OpenVPN in the usual configuration in tun mode uses the third option. There is only one tun interface on VPN server, but it is not transparent as would be a PtMP interface (because gateway IP address is not passed in tun interface and is therefore not available to OpenVPN). Instead it is a strange hybrid that for most purposes looks like one hop between server and clients (e.g. in traceroutes, or it is transparent to multicast so OSPF can associate through it), but for some purposes it looks like a virtual router implemented inside OpenVPN, which connects VPN server and all VPN clients.
The important result is that dispatch decision inside OpenVPN in tun mode is done based on packet destination IP and OpenVPN apparently does not learn such information from server routing tables, instead it depends on static configuration of IP ranges.
There are several ways how to fix it:
- Use tap mode instead of tun mode, it behaves like one L2 network
- Use IPIP or GRE tunnels inside OpenVPN between clients and server and route network traffic through these tunnels
- Use different VPN tool than OpenVPN
Perhaps there are some options unknown to us to make OpenVPN work transparently in tun mode, if so, let us know.
BIRD does not import some routers from kernel
First, learn option of kernel protocol must be active.
Second, 'device' routes related to interface addresses/prefixes added automatically by OS/kernel are never imported. You could add them using direct protocol.
Third, for some obscure and historic reasons BIRD 1.3.x (or older) does not import even some manually added device/host routes (i.e. ones without gateway). There are two ways to fix this. Either add these routes to the kernel routing table with static protocol source (e.g. '@ip route add 10.20.30.0/24 dev eth0 proto static@' ), or recompile BIRD with attached patch (see the bottom of the page) to fix this issue. Anyway, first try some newer version than 1.3 if possible.
IPv6 blackhole and prohibit routes do not work on Linux
This is a limitation of older versions of the Linux kernel, which do not support that route targets for IPv6 routes. A commonly used alternative is to use unreachable route target. If you want to blackhole traffic without sending out ICMP errors on linux, you can use route to a dummy device. Just insert kernel module dummy, this will add a dummy0 interface to your system, so you can enable it and route traffic into it. In BIRD configuration this can be done using e.g. static route 2001:db8:1337::/48 via "dummy0".
IBGP does not work after upgrade to BIRD 1.3 (or newer)
In older versions, BIRD had non-standard IBGP, which was simpler, but very limited (addresses from NEXT_HOP BGP attributes were used as nexthops). BIRD 1.3 implements standard IBGP behavior (addresses from NEXT_HOP attributes are looked up in an IGP routing table). For more details, see the documentation of BGP option gateway. The change also affects multihop EBGP. The transition may disrupt working configs, the problem manifests by routes that are imported as unreachable routes. There are several ways to solve that:
- The old behavior can be activated by gateway direct option.
- If flat topology is used (one L2 network with attached border BGP routers, IBGP sessions are to direct neighbors - not multihop), it is possible to just add device routes using direct protocol, in that case it is also usually needed to add next hop self option to IBGP protocols on BGP border routers (not to the route server), because without that NEXT_HOP contains IP address of the border router of neighbor AS, which is usually one hop away.
- If OSPF is used for the internal network, it should work just fine, but note that there should be in IGP table not only internal networks, but also the border networks connecting local and neighbor's border routers.
- Trivial but manual workaround is just to add a /32 static route for each address in NEXT_HOP attributes of IBGP routes.
Error messages in logfiles
bgp1: Received: Malformed AS_PATH: ...
The BGP peer does not like AS_PATH we send. The most probable cause is that a local BGP protocol does not prepend its AS number to AS_PATH because it is configured as a route server (option rs client) and the BGP peer checks that (option bgp enforce-first-as on Cisco routers).
Pipe collision detected when sending W.X.Y.Z/24 to table ABC
This error may happen if one route (from one protocol) arrives to one routing table via two (or more) different pipes. The original idea is that the graph of routes and pipes is a tree, but it should work even if it is a tree for each route after applying filters. This can be solved by adding proper filters to pipes.
Netlink: File exists
A problem in BIRD-Linux kernel routing table synchronization when BIRD tries to overwrite an existing kernel route. There are two common causes:
First, there are some routes in the kernel routing table added by some other tools (like ip or route commands). BIRD does not purge such routes during its start. You could either do not add such routes, or configure BIRD kernel protocol to learn such routes (option learn) and make them preferred (change preference of kernel protocol to higher value)
Second, BIRD tries to overwrite kernel's device route by its own (common, non-device) route. This might happen unintentionally if OSPF is configured with strongly asymetric costs for local interfaces - the path through another router is cheaper than the direct connection. In that case you could either change OSPF costs, or import device routes from direct protocol with highest priority.
Netlink: Cannot allocate memory
A problem in BIRD-Linux kernel routing table synchronization. For IPv6, one possible cause is a hard limit on Linux kernel routing table size, which is 4096 by default, which is too small for full BGP. This can be changed using /proc/sys/net/ipv6/route/max_size .